améliorer perf sur marathon

Tips on improving your marathon performance


Run more... and better

There are very few runners who are able to improve their times without increasing their mileage. The marathon distance is gruelling. You have to train your body for long-term effort at an increasingly challenging pace. That doesn't mean going the distance all at once. You never want to jump from 20 km a week to 80 km - you have to increase your distance gradually.

A few things to keep in mind:

- Think of "Running" as a synonym for "Running more often". An easy way to log a few more kilometres is to add one or two extra runs a week, especially if your initial training plan leaves room to do so. You can also swap out one of your weekly runs for an endurance sport that is easier on your muscles and tendons - for example, swimming or cycling.

- Your long run – usually at the weekend – is the cornerstone of your weekly plan. You should time your long run and wear a GPS watch or run it on a measured route so you can know exactly how far you're running. Your goal is not to run fast but to build your endurance. Keep a consistent pace and be sure to refuel at regular intervals.


Don't neglect your speedwork

Speedwork is an absolute must in any marathon plan. To get the most out of any training plan, it's essential to alternate intense bursts with recovery periods. Running long distances (ie, 42.195 km) at an increasingly quick pace requires improving your vVO2max (velocity at maximal oxygen uptake). The best way to do this is through speedwork.

This type of training can be done on a track, trail or hills. You should always be sure to do a full warm-up and follow the workout outlined in your training plan. If a run seems too difficult (if you can't keep up the pace or distance), you can always slow down to make it through all of the reps.

A few tips:

- Keep the entire workout balanced. This means that the final reps should be run at the same pace - not slower - as those at the start. This is one of the key goals of speedwork: learning to manage your effort.

- Never do speedwork two days in a row. Speedwork (especially when done on a track) demands a lot of effort from your body. You should always give yourself at least one day to recover.

- Listen to your body. If you have pain in your muscles or tendons, laboured breathing or can't catch your breath, stop immediately!


Five speed workouts:

. For the track:

-  10 x 400m. Recovery: 200m slow jogging.

-  6 x 1000m. Recovery: 400m slow jogging.

. Off the track (timed):

- 6 x 3min. Recovery: 1:30min slow jogging.

- 3 x 10min (at your race goal pace). Recovery: 5min slow jogging.

. Hillwork:

- 10 x 45sec on a straight hill with a gradient of 4% to 6%. Recovery: jog downhill.


Recovery is also part of the plan

Marathon training has to be a long-term plan. Advanced runners should give themselves at least eight weeks. If you've never run a marathon before, you'll need quite a bit more time. It's a good idea to start with a half marathon to get your bearings.

Lifestyle, sleep, and a balanced diet all have an essential role in your marathon training if you want to be in top form for the big day. Recovery is much more important than many think. Training for a marathon is no cake walk. Over several weeks, your body is subjected to repeated and prolonged stress. You have to give yourself time to get used to the effort and build your fitness level. This is why training plans include recovery days - and even weeks. If you want to improve, you have to work on your whole approach


Tips from Julien Bartoli

« First, you need to really plan out your goal: you don't just roll out of bed one day and decide you're a marathon runner. You have to get there gradually, working your way up from a 10k, then a half marathon, etc.

Next, you have to set specific goals for yourself to build the training plan that's right for you.
Don't be overly ambitious because marathon training is long and requires a lot of investment.

You have to follow a training plan and be consistent - consistency is the only way you'll get there.
During your training, you need to make sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid injury. This means staying hydrated, eating well and getting enough sleep.

It's also a good idea to have a coach. Your coach should know you well so he or she can adapt your training plan depending on your mood, how your body's feeling, weather conditions and so on.

And a common sense tip: don't wait until the last minute to sign up for the race! It would be a real pity to have trained for weeks and not be able to race because of a technicality!

On your last long run, test out all your gear: shoes, clothing, watch, sunglasses and hydration/gel packs to make sure you're all set for race day.

As you taper your training over the last two weeks, your weight may fluctuate. No need to worry - you need to fill up your energy stores for the big day! You just need to not go overboard and put on too much weight.
For me, the best thing is to eat carbohydrate-rich foods for the last two weeks before race day so you don't overload your stomach.

Happy training! »


Before starting your marathon training: Set a reasonable and balanced goal. Your goals should be based on past paces so you don't set the bar too high. This also means that you might have a good surprise on the big day...